May 15, 2024 12:00 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

A group of energy professionals in the property sector disputes a recent claim by consumer organisation Which? regarding the accuracy of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These experts argue that the criticisms levelled at EPCs are not entirely justified and that the certificates do provide valuable information to homeowners and renters.

Which? has highlighted that with millions of UK households concerned about staying warm in winter and dealing with high energy bills, an EPC should be a reliable and essential source of information. As the UK moves closer to its target of achieving Net Zero by 2050, the accuracy and effectiveness of EPCs are more important than ever.

The energy professionals contend that, despite some flaws, EPCs remain a crucial tool for assessing the energy efficiency of homes. They believe that the current debate should focus on improving the system rather than discrediting it, to ensure that EPCs continue to help households make informed decisions about energy use and contribute to the broader environmental goals.

A recent government survey revealed low public awareness and understanding of EPC ratings, suggesting significant issues with the current system. The survey indicates that many EPCs do not accurately assess the energy efficiency of homes, leading to confusion and potential misinformation. The metrics used in these certificates are often seen as perplexing for consumers, who struggle to make sense of the information provided.

Moreover, there is a pressing need to offer new, clear information that can better support consumers in making informed decisions about their energy use and home improvements. The presentation of EPCs must be enhanced to ensure they are more accessible and useful to the average homeowner. This improvement would involve simplifying the language and format of the certificates, making the data more straightforward and actionable.

The consumer body argues that for EPCs to be truly effective, they must deliver relevant, accessible, and accurate information and advice. This would enable consumers to understand their home’s energy efficiency more clearly and take the necessary steps to improve it. By providing clear and precise information, EPCs can become a vital tool in helping households reduce energy consumption, lower bills, and contribute to the UK’s goal of reaching Net Zero by 2050.

The Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) has raised concerns about not being consulted by Which? before it made its claim regarding the accuracy of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). PEPA is requesting to see the evidence supporting this claim, as they believe it might stem from a general misunderstanding of what an EPC is meant to do.

PEPA supports the idea that EPCs should offer more detailed information and advice relevant to individual properties, beyond just a single ‘headline’ result. They agree with the consumer body’s call for improved EPCs but are disappointed by the lack of consultation in the process.

Andrew Parkin, chair of PEPA, expressed frustration at not being included in the discussions. He stated that PEPA could have provided valuable insights to aid the research, noting that the claim about EPCs not accurately assessing energy efficiency is based on outdated perceptions.

Parkin highlighted that PEPA’s goals align with those of Which?, particularly in using EPCs to give specific advice to homeowners for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprints. He suggested that collaboration between the two organizations could have resulted in a more accurate and beneficial report.

PEPA represents businesses that provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), Display Energy Certificates (DECs), and Air Conditioning Inspection Reports (ACIRs).

Which? has called for detailed reforms to the EPC process, including:

– EPCs should include multiple key metrics to help consumers understand energy usage and options. These metrics, which should be tested with consumers, might cover the property’s energy use, cost, heating system, and environmental impact.

– EPCs should offer detailed information to aid consumers in transitioning from fossil fuel heating to low-carbon systems. This includes the environmental impact of the current heating system, the expected timeline for its replacement, the building’s potential for flexible tariffs and energy generation, and details on potential heat networks, based on Local Energy Action Plans.

– The advice in an EPC should be tailored to the property type and provide a clear path to additional information and resources.

– EPCs should link to a Building Passport or Log Book, offering comprehensive details about the property and future plans.

Which? also advocates for enhanced accessibility of EPC data, proposing the development of apps and online platforms for easier access. They suggest more frequent updates to certificates and the availability of non-digital versions for individuals without digital access.





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